A lot of hikers look down at peakbagging as a motivation to get out and hike. I certainly viewed it with suspicion until I learned more about it.
I got my first glimpse into the joys of peakbagging when I was hiking two National Scenic Trails – the Long Trail in 2008 and the New Hampshire section of the Appalachian Trail in 2010. Both of those trails go over dozens of mountains that are on peak lists, which is how I got introduced to hiking up and down New England’s mountains.
Truth is, peakbagging is a lot more than ticking peaks off a list.
- It’s a fantastic way to meet other hikers with similar interests and find partners to hike with.
- It helps solve the problem of figuring out where to hike next.
- It helps concentrate overuse in a trail system and preserve the wilder parts. This was the original reason for the creation of the White Mountain 48 x 4,000 footers in New Hampshire and it has worked very well.
- Many of the lists force you to experience a wide range of different mountain flora and fauna, across many different areas.
- Peakbagging helps motivate the acquisition of more advanced hiking techniques such as weather forecasting, navigation, judgement, layering, advanced footwork, first aid and many other skills.
- It gets people out of the house, away from their TV sets and cell phones, and encourages rigorous physical exercise.
- It encourages volunteer stewardship of trails.
- It brings economic development to more rural areas.
- It helps create lifelong memories and friendships.
- You have to periodically face failure and bounce back.
I am a peakbagger and proud of it!